Apple may acquire crowd-sourced traffic and navigation service Waze

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple may bolster its iOS Maps application by acquiring popular crowd-sourced traffic and navigation service Waze, according to a new rumor.

Apple is said to be "sniffing around Waze" for a potential acquisition, according to a report from TechCrunch published on Wednesday. Both companies declined to comment, but a similar rumor also cropped up from an Israeli website.

Waze


Waze (Free, App Store) was one of the alternative mapping applications recommended by Apple in September after customers complained that the new Maps application in iOS 6 was not up to par. Apple replaced Google Maps data with its own proprietary solution with the launch of its latest mobile operating system.

A free application for iOS, Waze is pitched by the company as a "fun, community-based traffic & navigation app." It claims that more than 30 million people are using the service.

With Waze, users can share real-time information on traffic congestion, gas prices, accidents, speed traps and checkpoints, and more. Some data is automatically reported by simply having the iPhone application open while driving.

Waze


Apple has acquired prominent iOS application developers before to bolster its mobile platform. Most significantly, the company purchased Siri, a voice-driven personal assistant application, for about $200 million in 2010. The technology eventually became integrated into iOS with the launch of iOS 5.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24


    That would be AMAZING and AWESOME!  It's the best navigation app out there.  Does the trick. Social aspect is fantastic.  Highly recommend this rumor to a hopeful TRUE!

  • Reply 2 of 24


    Wow, a bit of news today I could actually see happening.

  • Reply 3 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,449member


    I'm wondering if that would be enough to bring his brother (I think) to assert WAZE ownership claims too. IIRC there was also a background story from a few years ago that indicated a falling out over the way the data gathered from WAZE users was shared with the map provider, OSM. At least that's what I remember. I'll see if I can find the old story

  • Reply 4 of 24
    I'd prefer Apple actually not mess with Waze at all...it's independence is part of its success.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Err, Waze is already a provider for Apple Map underlying data. What would be the point ?

    Apple buys companies to shut them down and integrate its products and data into their own.

    Waze value is in its app being deployed and used by its users, being a social mapping app. If Apple shuts Waze down, even if it integrate parts of the functionality in its native app, Apple will never provide a deeply social application and hence, this would have zero added value for Apple, just a big waste and a huge gain for current Waze investors.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    bsbbbsbb Posts: 3member
    The problem with Apple Maps is their reliance on Yelp for point of interest data. Yelp data is often wildly out of date. I'm not sure acquiring Waze solves any of the Apple Map problems.
  • Reply 7 of 24

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by OlivierL View Post



    Err, Waze is already a provider for Apple Map underlying data. What would be the point ?

    Apple buys companies to shut them down and integrate its products and data into their own.

    Waze value is in its app being deployed and used by its users, being a social mapping app. If Apple shuts Waze down, even if it integrate parts of the functionality in its native app, Apple will never provide a deeply social application and hence, this would have zero added value for Apple, just a big waste and a huge gain for current Waze investors.




    Shutting down/integrating into their own?... that's pretty much the definition of acquisition, and at least Apple typically integrates (valuable portions) into their own and doesn't just shut companies down to avoid competition, etc.


     


    Value?  I could definitely see value.  Apple may not be a social media powerhouse, but it definitely has a social application user base, in fact larger than than Waze, right?


     


    Deeply social?  Why would success of this type of application have to be "deeply" social?  I mean, it's not on the same depth as Facebook and probably not intended to...so I'm not sure why "deep" has much to do with it.  Width, yes.  Depth, no.

  • Reply 8 of 24

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by OlivierL View Post



    Err, Waze is already a provider for Apple Map underlying data. What would be the point ?

     


    To this, you may have a good point, but then again maybe Apple already had a financial interest/ownership in Waze and/or there are IP that is a good fit and would be valuable to all mapping application companies which Apple does not want shared with competitors?

  • Reply 9 of 24
    This would sound really great if what this one person, {T2theJ1990}, posted at the forum section at "Mac Rumors.com" is true: "Not to mention that WAZE was developed by former Apple employees. So they already know the Apple way, I think they should buy them, but keep a free app on Android, And make one for Windows." Great way of bringing all of it back to the Apple family.
  • Reply 10 of 24


    Originally Posted by bsbb View Post



    The problem with Apple Maps is their reliance on Yelp for point of interest data. Yelp data is often wildly out of date.


     


    I think the problem is giving too much credence on Yelp data over others, and being too literal with the name.


     


    I searched for Mira Mesa Bowl, a local bowling alley. Well, it seems the actual name is Mira Mesa Lanes, and Google figured that out, but not Apple:


     


     


     


    imageimage


     


    Likewise, searching for our Hotel Lafayette locally in San Diego CA, Google found the Lafayette Hotel I was looking for, while Apple Maps took me to the Courtyard by Marriott in Lafayette, Indiana.

  • Reply 11 of 24
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    They could easily be buying it for the staff too- let's not discount that.
  • Reply 12 of 24


    I'd like to see Apple by a share in Waze, rather than a complete purchase. That way Waze can get investment and update their software etc, and Apple can get data and a more dedicated iPhone App.


     


    Android users wouldn't then loose an application, and could continue to contribute to Waze etc.


     


    Apple is probably a far better fit than Google for Waze (as most of googles recent purchases seem to disappear)


     


    I wonder how much Nokia would accept for a 40% stake in their mapping company ? It'd help Apple get good data, and give Nokia money (before they sink slowly into oblivion)

  • Reply 13 of 24
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    olivierl wrote: »
    Err, Waze is already a provider for Apple Map underlying data. What would be the point ?
    Apple buys companies to shut them down and integrate its products and data into their own.
    Waze value is in its app being deployed and used by its users, being a social mapping app. If Apple shuts Waze down, even if it integrate parts of the functionality in its native app, Apple will never provide a deeply social application and hence, this would have zero added value for Apple, just a big waste and a huge gain for current Waze investors.

    drewys808 wrote: »

    Shutting down/integrating into their own?... that's pretty much the definition of acquisition, and at least Apple typically integrates (valuable portions) into their own and doesn't just shut companies down to avoid competition, etc.

    Value?  I could definitely see value.  Apple may not be a social media powerhouse, but it definitely has a social application user base, in fact larger than than Waze, right?

    Deeply social?  Why would success of this type of application have to be "deeply" social?  I mean, it's not on the same depth as Facebook and probably not intended to...so I'm not sure why "deep" has much to do with it.  Width, yes.  Depth, no.

    drewys808 wrote: »
    To this, you may have a good point, but then again maybe Apple already had a financial interest/ownership in Waze and/or there are IP that is a good fit and would be valuable to all mapping application companies which Apple does not want shared with competitors?

    andysol wrote: »
    They could easily be buying it for the staff too- let's not discount that.


    Apple would benefit considerably from purchasing Waze:

    Waze is social and Apple is arguably the most social media friendly technology company. Apple has numerous social media components in the products and services they just haven't integrated all the social components into a single offering nor do they advertise as a social media company. An argument could be made that Apple is the fourth largest social media company.

    Waze has a very innovative automated mapping solution that modifies their product if a sufficient number of people "report" a given feature (simply driving with Wzae active reports features). If, for example, enough people drive along Black Wolf Lane off Highway 212 in Montana Waze will automatically add the road to their database.

    Waze has some interesting intellectual property as a result of their highly innovative solution.

    Waze has a very talented team.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TokyoJimu View Post


     


    I think the problem is giving too much credence on Yelp data over others, and being too literal with the name.


     


    I searched for Mira Mesa Bowl, a local bowling alley. Well, it seems the actual name is Mira Mesa Lanes, and Google figured that out, but not Apple:


     


     


     


    imageimage


     


    ...



     


    This is actually because Apple tries to get the most accurate result and Google just gets you what's probably correct 90% of the time.  


     


    For instance if you had put "ing" on the end of "Mira Mesa Bowl" it would have found it because "MIra Mesa" is the place and "Bowling" is what you're looking for.  You put in an exact place name (Mira Mesa Bowl), that was wrong.  Apple honoured your exactness and found you the nearest "Bowl" in Mira Mesa, and Google just ignored what you wrote and just put up the most likely nearby hit.  


     


    For you, Google is probably best, but it's easy to see how the two different approaches could work in Apple's favour sometimes and not work for Google at other times.  

  • Reply 15 of 24
    tomhayestomhayes Posts: 127member
    >Likewise, searching for our Hotel Lafayette locally in San Diego CA, Google found the Lafayette Hotel I was looking for, while Apple Maps took me to the Courtyard by Marriott in Lafayette, Indiana.

    So, you type in incorrect data and blame the computer for not figuring out for you??

  • Reply 16 of 24
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Would be a smart move.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    If you try to open the Waze app with Siri, you'll see there is a major problem. In order to open it you have to pronounce it something like Way-Zee. Therefore, I don't trust the stories that suggest that there is much current cooperation between companies.

    Apple should have just bought Waze in the first place, rather than wasting a lot of money developing their own maps app.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member


    Overall Apple maps is not bad, but is it the best?, no way.


     


    I know this outrageous ... just a little thought (some may mindless) experiment.


     


    What if Apple contracted with each countries mail service to perform and audit once year (not all at once, but as part of their as they going on their route a little per day). What would that cost?


    Pay the equivelent of each employee on the route 1/4 days pay per year(I think thats generous for just verifying businesses and not residential).


    Lets say in the US 300,000 letter carriers/drivers x $250, or about $75 million per year.


    X europe. roughly the same(plus safety net tax), another 90 million.


     


    165 million per year.


     


    Add asia, another 200 million a year(WAG).


    South america and africa.. another 100 million(WAG)


    Plus South pole 1000 bucks


    500000 ipads(at cost)


    Plus overhead 15%.


     


    $535 million a year to have the world 'audited' for business locations.


    Apple provide a special ipad etc. Snap a pic, type the address and any other info


     


    Now of course, if they where really serious they would also pay for 'Apple view' (ie street view). Letter carriers etc wear a pack ala street view etc. 


    Give a bonus if they sign them up for passport service(apple should be pushing this more).


     


    That is IF Apple where truely serious about Maps... IF


    Got to pay to play.


     


    End of ramble.

  • Reply 19 of 24
    lerxtlerxt Posts: 184member
    How about Apple just concentrate on getting streets show in locations where they have nothing? They cannot be deeply social if there are no streets.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post





    Apple would benefit considerably from purchasing Waze:

    Waze is social and Apple is arguably the most social media friendly technology company. Apple has numerous social media components in the products and services they just haven't integrated all the social components into a single offering nor do they advertise as a social media company. An argument could be made that Apple is the fourth largest social media company.

    Waze has a very innovative automated mapping solution that modifies their product if a sufficient number of people "report" a given feature (simply driving with Wzae active reports features). If, for example, enough people drive along Black Wolf Lane off Highway 212 in Montana Waze will automatically add the road to their database.

    Waze has some interesting intellectual property as a result of their highly innovative solution.

    Waze has a very talented team.


    Apple should buy Waze and leave it alone. That way they would gain data from all users, gain good people and by so doing help improve Apple Map.

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